Hack my leg pain?
I'm a 23 year old female who began exercising again a little over a month ago. I know none of you are doctors here, and I don't expect a diagnosis. But since I don't have health insurance at the moment I would really like a few opinions on my injury. Perhaps someone experienced something similar and found a home remedy to fix it?
6 weeks ago I came down with some kind of "knee injury". I'm not really sure what caused it. But suddenly my knee area and upper calf became stiff and inflamed. This only happens in one leg.
There was no pain. Maybe slight warmth after intense fluid build up. No cold feet, etc. The typical symptoms weren't there that you would see for any severe issues. I just had limited motion in that leg when the swelling was severe and I didn't elevate my leg.
The inflammation and lack of mobility would get worse during episodes of standing and sometimes sitting. But would slightly subside after elevating my leg and completely subside after moderate exercise (I use the elliptical).
The swelling would subside in the morning after sleeping, then return gradually after standing and walking around the kitchen to make breakfast, then subside again after moving my leg around (bending it upward toward my chest while sitting in a chair).
Some days would be better than others. There were a few days where there wasn't much fluid retention at all. Seems like prolonged standing really aggravated it. I ice my leg on a regular basis when it happens.
Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, I started experiencing a new symptom. BTW these are not my legs.
The red spot is a single tender point on the side of my upper calf. It's not too painful. But if I press firmly enough I can feel tenderness. Not sure if this has anything to do with anything. It could just be a sensitive spot but it's worth noting.
The purple indicates the general region I sometimes have dull pain or a feeling of swelling/fluid buildup. But keep in mind, when my knee gets inflamed the entire knee area feels like it's inflamed not just the regions I have circled.
The blue region indicates areas where I sometimes have a sudden "pinching pain" when I stretch my leg out or lean forward when I'm walking. Sometimes when I bend my leg back as if to do a butt kick, I'll feel a sharp pinch in the horizontal blue area. If I attempt to flex that crease/upper calf area I'll sometimes get a pinching pain. This only happens occasionally, other times I can do these things with ease.
This only happens during episodes when that area stiffens and gets fluid buildup. It almost feels like I have a shortened muscle.
Keep in mind, exercising relieves all of these symptoms for hours, and sometimes for the rest of the day. I tried running on the treadmill a few days ago and ran with ease with no extra pain during or after. But the following morning, that entire knee area was stiff and had slight fluid retention. I can squat-sit more easily now than when I first began experiencing the stiffness/swelling, though I do feel pressure when I do that, there's no pain. I even find relief from the stiffness just by bending the leg to my chest as I sit in a chair.
I don't understand what's causing this. I've considered DVT, knee cap injury, tendon injury, meniscus tear, plantaris injury... not stretching properly. I'm just really at a loss of ideas.
Sorry this is long. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
Sounds to me like you have an injury (someone else will likely be able to do better on that) which pizzled a nerve. I understand this is more common in women because we have a tighter calf area; I find that same red area extremely tender to pressure and when I warn masseurs about it they always say, "That's because there is a nerve right there."
[url=http://radiographics.rsna.com/content/30/4/1001.full]MR Imaging of Entrapment Neuropathies of the Lower Extremity[/url]
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sural_nerve]Sural nerve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]
Remember your RICE:
and, if not counter-indicated, noninflammatory
[QUOTE=tiramisu.;1251893] I don't understand what's causing this. I've considered DVT, knee cap injury, tendon injury, meniscus tear, plantaris injury... not stretching properly. I'm just really at a loss of ideas.
Are you hypermobile? Do your fingers bend backward? You might be hyper-extending the knee with part of your gait and not realizing it. I have had similar pains, both before I re-learned how to walk and to this day when I forget or get in a hurry and take wider steps. Pay attention to what happens to your knee on the leg behind you when walking, just before you pick up your foot. You might be whipping it backward without realizing it and putting strain on those bones and/or ligaments.
Thank you for the suggestions!
Without a face to face physical exam or looking at any imaging of the knee it is difficult to properly diagnose the condition. But I suspect when you talk about swelling/fluid build up that it could be this:
[URL="http://www.namemypain.com/Body_Knee_Back-C.html"]Baker's Cyst[/URL] - Scroll to the bottom of the page.
[URL="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-31/news/chi-tms-m-bakerscyst_1_cyst-synovial-fluid-medical-condition"]News article[/URL] on Baker's Cyst.
Baker's Cyst [URL="http://youtu.be/kH6of0ipfXw"]Video[/URL]
Exercise = movement = promotes fluid and circulation so the bursa sac behind the knee doesn't get a chance to fill up or retain fluid. Also exercising leads to some level of perspiration which decreases the possibility of excess fluid retention.
Standing and sitting = passive state allowing time for the cyst to collect the synovial fluid (also during these times you may be re-hydrating and thus give more chance and added source to fill the sac back up).
You said you are 23, so it is unlikely you have osteoporosis of the knee, but not unheard of in someone of that young age. It's possible you may have some arthritis in the knee joint. The experience of inflammed sensation in the whole knee suggests some damage and healing taking place. If you feel the inflammation after workouts then those exercises are probably contributing to the damage. I would rest the knee and hold off on strong exercising with the lower limbs for maybe 4 weeks.
You said you "began exercising again", what stopped you from exercising before, if you don't mind me asking? Were you injured and this injury prevented you from exercising for a set time? Any history of knee injury, or surgery? Elbow injury?
Best home remedy is to rest, sleep, incorporate natural anti-inflammatory foods into your eating plan. Give the knee a chance to catch back up and heal.
I would suggest that your pelvis is out of alignment - this will put pressure on the opp knee to where the vertabrae is under stress ie: the opp knee/leg will be over compensating for the pelvis issue. Simple chiropractic adjustments should correct this for you.
[quote]You said you are 23, so it is unlikely you have osteoporosis of the knee, but not unheard of in someone of that young age. It's possible you may have some arthritis in the knee joint.[/quote]
Hmm.. I don't think it's a cyst. The only symptom I have is that crease pain and not much else. I did have rheumatoid arthritis as a child but have been in remission ever since I recovered from it. I definitely wouldn't dismiss possible osteo.
[quote]If you feel the inflammation after workouts then those exercises are probably contributing to the damage.[/quote]
Nope, my leg goes back to normal after exercising. Not 100%, I can still feel a little something something in the knee. But for the most part the fluid retention is gone.
[quote]You said you "began exercising again", what stopped you from exercising before, if you don't mind me asking? Were you injured and this injury prevented you from exercising for a set time? Any history of knee injury, or surgery? Elbow injury?[/quote]
I've been active for years now, but out of lazyness hadn't exercised for about 3-4 months. Beginning of June I began exercising again. Just my regular routine. Nothing out of the ordinary. I had already been exercising for 2 weeks prior to when I woke up with a swollen knee, decreased mobility in the knee, and calf stiffness. At first I assumed it had something to do with the squats/lunges/butt kicks I had been doing. But doing them now doesn't offer any change whether I do them or not. I've been slowly building up to butt squatting to retain that mobility that I had lost initially.
No surgery of any kind.
[quote]I would suggest that your pelvis is out of alignment[/quote]
This is actually really interesting because that leg IS about 2 inches shorter than my other leg. So a hip misalignment could be possible. But why would it all of a sudden start acting up now despite years of activity?
Thank you for these ideas, I'll definitely keep them in mind.
As of this morning when I stand up, I don't have any pain. But I can't straighten out my leg 100% when I walk. It's very slightly bent at the knee, and my calf muscle is stiff. This is the only symptom I'm experiencing today. If I attempt to force to straighten it I get slight pain in the areas indicated in the photo.
I'll try to take a hot bath and stretch it out/massage the area. See if that has any positive impact on it.
Yes shortness in one leg along with the stiffness in the calf, is an indicator of pelvis misalignment. When 'stress' to an area can't cope anymore, it will give in, so to speak - this is the easiest terminology to use. Seeing a chiropractor I feel would be the way to go.
I had another few days of swelling flare ups, but I did some swimming and it subsided for a while. Last night I did a cardio session on the elliptical and some leg workouts (ie: leg press, etc). This morning I woke up with pretty much no swelling or fluid retention.
Right now I seem like I'm having calf tightness in the upper right side part of my left leg. If I press against it it is tender and harder than my right calf. It's almost like I'm having a mild chronic charley horse (and I think my leg did cramp up a little the other night for a few minutes).
I feel tenderness/pain when I walk because the fat on my calf bounces against the muscle... lol weird way to describe it. I also feel the tenderness if I walk up the stairs normally, [I]but don't feel it if I swing my leg sort of sideways up the steps. [/I]
I just took pictures of my legs. There's no redness and no abnormal warmness in either leg. My left lower leg simply looks larger compared to my right one (though this is partially due to the few inch difference in length).
Hmmm... any further ideas/suggestions? Should I do some kind of stretches? Or go get an ultrasound to rule out an unlikely DVT? Has anyone experienced similar symptoms?